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Peter Tatchell: ‘David Cameron should come out in support of gay marriage’

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  1. Spot on as always.

  2. Well I guess we have “the consultation on equal marriage”…isn’t that akin to what Cameron stated before that he would “consider” marriage…he’s doing what he promised?. The lib dems have promised marriage by 2015 so I guess they should just go ahead , produce a bill themselves and force the other 2 parties to show their true colours…yes, Cameron should support marriage equality but I guess he’s aftraid of the cons right in his party who think marriage is between men and women…personallu I’m not a feminist so I haven’t got a clue what the rest of the article is about..

  3. Dan Filson 5 Jul 2011, 2:24pm

    Cameron will argue his ‘public consultation’ on gay marriage is underway, so no need to adopt a position until it is complete.

    1. Dan, that’s a bit of luck for him as there is no completion date (Actually I’m not sure if there’s actually a genuine start dtae either!!!)

  4. “I am coordinating the Equal Love campaign, which seeks to end sexual orientation discrimination in both civil marriage and civil partnership law. It is a simple issue: equality for all”

    Hasn’t Peter overlooked something? If he’s after “equality” then he needs to include option for religious marriage ceremonies as well as “civil” (for those that want them). Or is he coniving in what seems to have been a silent agreement between New Labour, Stonewall & the leaders of the CofE and RC churches that “the gays can have “equality” but the churches can continue to have exclusive rights on God”

    1. “…the churches can continue to have exclusive rights on God”

      What an interesting turn of phrase. I think that as a liberation campaign with the political momentum, we do need to be careful about not standing on the toes and trampling the rights of other minority groups. Just because they imposed their views on us for millenia doesn’t give us the right to return the favour 50 years later.

      All that said (and I’m not saying you specifically did that, just that we should be wary) there is no reason for the law to prevent religious groups from holding religious gay weddings if they like – Quakers being the well quoted examples

      1. David, we are not seeking to “tread on the toes or trample on the rights” of anybody.
        Let all people continue to practice their own religion in their own way (if they have one). But let us not allow one religious group to enforce it’s views on everyone else through means of the civil law.
        It is the civil law, not Church law, that prevents both marriage and religious solemnization of civil partnerships in Churches.
        It is a fundamental human right for all people to be able to practice their own religion or none, which surely must include celebrating their union with another person in their own quaker meeting (or church) if they wish and if they are welcomed there. That includes LGBT people.
        Many religious groups would like to be able to marry LGBT people in exactly the same way as they do straight couples. It is the law of the land that stops this.

  5. Why doesn’t Clegg construct a marriage equality bill, then discuss it, fine tune it then present it to parliament for a vote?

    I suspect Cameron is afraid to declare all out support not only because of the bigot Tory right wingers but their C of E supporters in the House of Lords. That’s the reason why Blair refused to support it, afraid of the backlash from the rightists. How convenient.

    It’s amazing how New York went directly to civil marriage equality with far more opposition than anything we’ve seen in the UK. It didn’t have civil partnerships across the state.

    1. Alf N. Spit 5 Jul 2011, 5:49pm

      Peter is falling into the same trap as “traditionalists”. What marriage might have been in the days of yore is irrelevant to what it is today after centuries of reform. And gays aren’t becoming more conservative, we’ve always been a diverse lot, and to be frank the GLF were always seen as an extreme fringe in fancy dress, the more sedate and middle class Campagn for homosexual Equality was always far more popular across the UK.

  6. What has happened to the government’s consultation on marriage equality? I thought it was supposed to start in July…
    Stonewall published a draft response to the marriage equality consultation at the same time as it published its response to the religious CP consultation. The latter has now closed, but we’re still waiting for the marriage consultation to start. And apart from Stonewall, none of the rest of us have even seen the marriage consultation document, never mind the response form. What is the government waiting for?
    A cynic might suspect that right-wingers are strong-arming Featherstone to make the consultation document as unsympathetic as possible to marriage equality, in case some fundamentalist bigots somewhere get offended and threaten to vote UKIP.
    An even bigger cynic might think this will be dragged out until they lose in the courts – which would allow the LibDems to claim they’ve delivered a pledge, while the Tory right could blame it on Europe.

  7. I really appreciate Tatchell’s, ‘it’s not for me but I’ll fight for it to be a choice for others”, approach.

    NOTHING pisses me off more than those who say, “I don’t want to marry right now so therefore I don’t think anyone should EVER be able to”. It’s exactly like straight men who feel that since they don’t want to have sex with a bloke no man should be allowed to.

    Kudos to Mr. Tatchell. I wish America had one. If you Brits ever get tired of him, we Yanks would love to take him off your hands! We’ll even pay for shipping…if you’ll accept PayPal!

  8. Peter Tatchell, as always, ahead of everyone. Even if Cameron isn’t personally for it, he should still support it and those of us who want it. To hell with religious bigots, we’re not asking for religious marriage, so they should stay out of it. It doesn’t affect them and it’s not going to harm them or their marriages. With fewer straights marrying, they should support those of us who want it, after all, marriage is a very conservative thing and the Tory party above all should overwhelmingly endorse it.

  9. Peter, it’s not a question of whether marriage is traditionally a patriarchal device or not it’s a question that people have a right to get married – it’s a human right.

    What is so wrong with assimilation anyhow? Just because people are gay doesn’t mean they are inherently prone to radicalism and destroying accepted social structures and I think that’s a little odd.

    However, the rest of your points are correct.

  10. The LibDems have promised marriage by 2015. Their banners at London Pride said this.

    1. Good analysis and I hope Cameron does out out in favour of marriage equality very quickly. Get this consultation done and and some legislation enacted. Sooner we get this done the better because it won’t go away.

    2. Confused: The Lib Dem’s have not promised marriage equality by 2015, where is your evidence? A credible source would suffice.

  11. Luke, if Cameron wants to keep gay voters, he may not have any choice. Remember, it was a hung parliament after the election. He’s hardly in a position to say no, and if he does, it’s at his own peril. The sooner he and his party learn that reality, the better, especially if Labour declares it as official party policy, pitching the Liberal Democrats and Labour against the Tories. The Tory party would not be in a good position if that were to happen.

    Cameron should be pragmatic and just get the thing done.

  12. It is edifying to see Peter Tatchell supporting equal marriage, and stressing it as an equality issue, even if he is not terribly enamoured of the institution. But his argument that it comes from a very patriarchal and misogynistic place is something of a non-starter. You could say that of just about anything in our culture.

    Law? That has been used for centuries to oppress women and enforce straight male privilege, does that mean we should just abandon legal systems entirely? Or should we work towards changing them so that they promote fairness and equality?

    The media? Well, that’s been a powerful tool of heteronormative conformism for millennia. Books, plays, paintings, films, TV, all of it used to be mired in the most archaic patriarchal backwardness. Should we thus abandon these for entirely original cultural forms, or should we instead use them to further tolerance, respect and diversity?

    Let us take marriage and reform it, as people have been doing throughout our history.

  13. VP, excellent points, well said! Civil marriage has in fact evolved away from patriarchy entirely, different from the religious in every way. Now if only the religious denominations could distinguish between the two, we’d be a lot better off.

  14. One of the genuinely sad things is, i actually think Cameron does support marriage equality, he is just worried about the majority of his party turning against him.

  15. If e came out and openly called for same sex marriage there would be a coup

    This is the Tories people

  16. Peter Tatchell 5 Jul 2011, 8:39pm

    On the religious marriage point:
    Once aspect of reform, as I envisage it, would be for new legislation to allow religious organisations to conduct both civil marriages and civil partnerships if they wish to. We could not persuade parliament to compel them to do so, but I think there will be a majority of MPs and Lords willing to give religious bodies the option to perform both same-sex and opposite-sex civil partnerships and civil marriages.

    1. Peter, surely a marriage conducted on religious premises is a “religious marriage” not a “civil marriage” – or are you thinking that it would be like Lynne Featherstone’s present proposal for CP’s on religious prems – still required to be entirely secular?
      If I wish to get married in my localQuaker metting & the Quakers wish to host such a marriage then why would civil law of the UK make this illegal?
      I appreciate that many LGBT people are not religious but surely all can agree that there should be no area of the civil law that makes it illegal for LGBT people to do anything that is legal for everyone else.

      1. If we take the figures from the consultation on “religious” CP then 70% of gay people have a religion, a third of straight people get married in a church and therefore excluding religious marriages means than potentially you are excluding a third of gay people who would want to do a religious marriage. Who says we don’t want relgious marriages or aren’t religious, are there stats to prove that? Excluding religious marriages is not equality at all. It’s not up to the govt to make it illegal. The religious orgs will always have their opt out but to make it illegal in the first place isn’t the way to go.

  17. If the LibDems published a Bill then with all their votes and the Labour Party’s they would only need the gay Tories to have a Commons majority. Easy peasy. But they have promised consultation this month and we should always trust people.

    1. I never trust politicians, they love to twist words and in the end you’r not quite sure what they promised. Lib dems should pursue a private bill , rubber stamped by Stonewall who have now prioritised the issues and full support it. They could also support the CP equality part as well since CP when they were first debated were intended for straight people. If they can support CP for straight back then , then I can see no reason why they shouldn’t do it now. Stonewall could support a bill on both marriage and CP equality. Why not? I think it needs to be a joint bill with lib dems and Stonewall and perhpas backed by the Greens and any other parties that have supported it. The cons and Labour have NOT officially supported marriage equality, only consultation, why in those circumstance would we trust them?

  18. marriage used to be for same-sex couples before the christians stole it and it should be for same-sex couples now, many hetero couples choose not to marry now anyway and the same would happen with some same-sex couples but at least the choice would be there

  19. I generally agree with the article, but there are so many flaws some statements are just silly:

    How the Gay community can be conforming to the “straight status quo” when the author has said heterosexuals are less and less interested in marriage I don’t know – Not to mention, I have no idea what this straight status quo is. It’s made to sound like it’s them vs us!

    Secondly: The marriage history seems to have been taken from Victorian England. And unless I am very much mistaken Victorian England no longer exists, and certainly was not the only culture in the world with marriage…

    I am getting a civil partnership next year, and very much want a Religious marriage. I have followed a religion for 14 years now, and whether anyone else believes it or not I want to be married under the eyes of my Gods – Which many Gay Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindu’s, Taoists etc also want to do, but we can’t.

    Yes that’s right gays can be religious too!

  20. And here’s another good reason why we need marriage Peter, under the sex education part of the education bill the lib dems are proposing to add these lines

    “..where sex and relationships education is given to registered pupils at schools in England to which this section applies they learn—(a) the nature of marriage and its importance for family life and the bringing up of children,(b) the nature of civil partnership”

    See even the lib dems appear to think that CPs should be distinguishable when it comes to family life and the upbringing of children!

    One good thing old Tebbit may get us the answer to what “equal marriage” means

    June “to ask Her Majesty’s Government…. what they understand by the expression “equal civil marriage and partnership”

    Both above are good reasons not to trust any politician from any party!!!

  21. Peter Tatchell 6 Jul 2011, 11:35am

    In reply to Benji:
    Yes, it was my error (written in haste). Marriages conducted by religious bodies would be religious marriages – and new legislation should allow this, where religious bodies are willing to perform religious marriages for same-sex couples.

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